How to Root Roses, Lilacs and Other Semi Hardwood Cuttings

Last week I did a post on rooting softwood cuttings. This week it is on to Semi hardwood. Roses, lilacs and such are considered semi hardwood. It is fun to make more roses, or lilacs with this method to share or to just have more for yourself. Make sure to only propagate non-patented old types or you are infringing on the patent holders rights.
A fish tank makes a great cover to do many cuttings
A very loose mix for the soil and a box with no or well draining bottom.
Your cuttings, a good 6 inches is a nice size, try to have 2 leaf nodes below the soil in the box.
Cloning gel, there are also powders out there, also known as rooting mediums. I have read that they contain anti fungals to prevent rot but I am not sure.
Place fish tank over cutting that have been firmed into place, make sure no leaves or stems touch the glass, make sure there is a space on bottom for air circulation.
Voila! A new rose to enjoy. Patience is the name of the game, rooting can take a few weeks or several months depending on conditions. This rose is fast to bloom so blooms by the first year, others may differ.

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Flower Patch Farmhouse

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Speedbird2
    on Apr 30, 2016


    • Rockyroad
      on Aug 17, 2018

      Layering usually refers to bending a lower branch down into soil or other organic matter and covering it . Slight , shallow wound on branch sometimes helps . Hold branch down into soil using maybe heavy wire or piece of coat hanger bent in "U shape" to guarantee it's covered . Can take several months depending on plant .

  • Edie Zsuzsics
    on May 1, 2016

    Could this be done with a small branch off of an English walnut tree? Only asking because there is an english walnut tree on my mother's property that she loved. She passed away last year and (sentimentally) I would love to have a tree of my own that branched from hers.

    • Pete Sakes
      on May 5, 2016

      I've had great success in propagating from parent trees (not sure about nut trees) by cutting a small (new) limb (at an angle but still attached) then wetting peat moss and covering the cut area with the wet peat moss then covering the whole area (peat moss and all) with plastic wrap (I use clear so I can see when the roots start growing). Then tie the plastic wrap on both ends of the cut limb to hold the peat moss on the cut area and to keep the moss damp so that the roots do not dry out. This can take several months and may not even work. I'd try it though and I'd also try planting one of the nuts or trying to find a smaller tree on the property that perhaps started from one of the nuts.

Join the conversation

4 of 40 comments
  • Charlene
    on May 6, 2016

    FYI, it is against the law to reproduce any plant that holds a paten, ie... Knock out roses.

    • Flower Patch Farmhouse
      on May 7, 2016

      @Charlene You are so correct. My actual blog post at the end has the disclaimer than only non-patented plants should be used for this. If we start cuttings from patented plants we are technically stealing.

  • SusieQ
    on Jun 20, 2020

    Remember you may not get the same rose as the cutting came from due to grafting,

    • Flower Patch Farmhouse
      on Jun 22, 2020

      We are taking the cutting well above the graft so this is the only way to get the same rose as opposed to using the seeds. The graft is down by the base of the rose. So yes I am getting the same rose that blooms on this plant. Only if I took cutting from suckers that come from below the graft would I be getting the root stock rose which is most commonly Dr. Huey. In fact taking cuttings from the roses like this is how what they use to graft onto the root stock. So take as many cuttings as you want and you will get the same rose.

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